Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 99

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Mightiest Melee Magician

Chapter 99

In a stable tucked away in a corner of the Academy, two figures stirred, seldom visited by the students who usually passed by.

“What have you done?”

“What? What did I do?”

“Why did you challenge Ruin Ardell’s word earlier?”

These were Jekil Gerihill and Mikel Gerihill.

Mikel shrunk back at Jekil’s question and replied, “That, well… as you know, it was a perfect opportunity to utterly crush that guy Ruin…”

“Why should I?”

“Uh, what?”

“Dealing with Ruin Ardell is your responsibility, not mine. Why should I take on the risk of fighting him?”

“But…you’re strong… Didn’t you come to help me?”

“What? Help you?”

In an instant, Jekil Gerihill’s eyes grew fierce.

“Don’t delude yourself. My reason for coming to the Academy was not to perform some petty revenge for you. I came here to restore the honor of the ‘Gerihill’ name which you’ve been endlessly tarnishing as my incompetent brother. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“I’m sorry…”

“Damn it… It’d be so embarrassing if by some chance I lost.”

Of course, there is a huge difference between the academy students, whose magic use is regulated by various restrictions, and a proper sorcerer who has gained experience through actual combat.

But, in this case, it was different.

“Lose to him? No way, that can’t happen… You’re the kingdom’s youngest top sorcerer…”

“Shut up. Youngest? Have you forgotten who awarded you that title?”

“••••••Father.”

“That’s right. And yet you propose that to a sorcerer who’s won the Grand Tournament?”

“As I think about it more, it’s ridiculous. To call someone like this my brother…”

The Ledian Kingdom.

Historically, the weakest of nations.

In such a peaceful kingdom, what opportunities did a sorcerer have to be active in real combat? At most, they would be dispatched to a territory near the capital to subdue various monsters. And even then, it was mostly the soldiers’ job, with sorcerers just hanging back.

Not to mention, the tales of the Silver Knights sparring with the wizards every morning were, of course, a lie.

The knights were too busy with debauchery even during work hours, and it was rare to spot even one in the training grounds.

When was the last time anyone used lethal magic?

Managing nobles’ entertainment, walking a tightrope amid power struggles between the twin lords.

Dressing up nicely to curry favor with the ladies of the court had been more of a priority than magic itself.

On the other hand, Ruin Ardell was a genius among geniuses who had won the ‘Grand Tournament.’

Having gained all kinds of experience through the tournament, there was no certainty of beating him if they were to face off.

No.

‘…I would surely lose.’

Just recalling the disparity in power felt when their hands clasped in the great hall was enough to make one feel the certainty of defeat.

“Damn it. I should have just quietly done the special lecture and gone back…”

Although the thought of cowering before a much younger junior was humiliating, now was not the time to wallow in that humiliation.

Now that I’ve stirred the waters out of pride, I had to consider how to recover what had been spilled.

Of course, it was daunting to even think about where to begin.

“Tell me everything you know.”

“Huh? About what?”

“Tell me everything you know about Ruin Ardell!”

“Ah! Uh, okay!”

♦ ♦ ♦

The most important part of the second semester of the final year was ‘Collaboration and Sparring with Knights.’

Before the main lesson started, a dispatch had arrived stating that the trainees from Foldren Knights’ Training Academy would be coming.

Three days later.

A group of people rode in through the Academy’s main gate.

“Look over there! They’ve arrived!”

The trainees from Foldren.

The flag bearer held a banner with the symbol of Foldren Training Academy, a lizard’s tail, and behind him, about forty trainee knights in copper armor and helmets entered in formation, swords sheathed at their sides.

Leading the group was a knight in magnificent plate mail, helmet off…

I knew the face too well.

“Sir Gultair!”

“Oh, who do we have here?”

Sir Gultair Pirante.

The commander of the knights of Foldren territory and the chief knight responsible for all training at Foldren Academy.

Excluding the Golden Knights’ commander, a 7-star knight named Sir Gegen, and the guardian knight of the twin princes I had met before…

In terms of official rank, Sir Gultair was the third highest knight in the kingdom.

But such things were not important.

“How’s this ogre-like fellow doing? All well?”

“Yes. And you, Sir Gultair?”

“Same as always. By the way, call me ‘brother,’ will you?”

“…Um, I don’t think I can manage that.”

“What’s with you? Just you wait 10 years. Then you’ll see a face like mine getting called young. Heh heh.”

Renouncing honors and dignity as a knight, Sir Gultair Pirante was as down-to-earth as a neighborhood big brother.

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that thanks to the basics of physical combat I learned from Sir Gultair before participating in the Grand Tournament, I managed to win…

He was nothing less than a mentor to me.

“I heard the news long ago. You accomplished something amazing in the Grand Tournament, didn’t you?”

“Yes, thanks to you, Sir Gultair.”

“Good. Never forget that. As your fame grows, I expect to benefit from it too.”

“Hehe, of course. I won’t forget.”

“Where’s the headmaster?”

“He’ll be out shortly.”

As I pointed behind me, far away, the headmaster and professors were already on their way out.

The headmaster, too, greeted Sir Gultair with a welcoming face.

“You must be tired from your long journey.”

“It wasn’t hard at all. After all, it’s all for the future of the kingdom. If such work was tiring, I’d better drop dead. Haha.”

“Thank you for saying so. I’m sure this will be a good lesson for our students.”

“Yes. I hope my kids get to really learn the terror of a sorcerer on this occasion. Being a knight doesn’t mean everything.”

“Then let’s get the students and the trainee knights acquainted. Shall we head inside?”

“Sure.”

The headmaster placed a hand on my shoulder and spoke.

“Then Ruin, I’m counting on you to show us around.”

“Ruin. Let’s talk a little later.”

“Hehe, of course.”

As the headmaster and Sir Gultair moved to converse further, along with the professors…

The students remained.

Several knights-in-training remained.

As the representative of the academy, I had been assigned the duty of overseeing them and stepped forward to speak.

“Nice to meet you. I am Ruin Ardell, representative of the academy. May I know who the representative of the knights-in-training is?”

However, the atmosphere among the knights-in-training was tense.

“Well, our representative is currently preoccupied.”

“…Excuse me?”

The representative of the knights-in-training did not step forward, and none of them seemed interested in speaking with me.

Instead, all eyes were directed towards the very back of the group, and my gaze followed.

There, I witnessed…

“…you base-born commoner. Do you have to be hit to understand?”

“Kekeke, Maltive. That’s enough, he’s going to die.”

“Who cares if such a chap dies? What does it matter?”

Bullying.

No, it was more than that; a clandestine assault among the knights-in-training was taking place.

The victim was Hansan, someone I knew well.

Hansan?

A knight-in-training from Foldren whom I had saved from gangsters along with his sister during the holidays.

“R-Ruin…”

He was surrounded by about three knights-in-training and closed his eyes tightly as if showing himself to me in such a state was horrifying.

“What exactly is going on here?”

When I asked in a cool tone, one of the three knights-in-training harassing Hansan stepped forward and spoke.

“Ah, so you’re the famous ‘Ruin Ardell,’ I’ve heard much about. My name is Maltive Gegen. I am the representative knight-in-training from Foldren.”

Maltive Gegen.

An extremely memorable encounter.

Even from the first meeting, it was clear what kind of person he was.

“Have you heard? The kingdom’s only seven-star knight and the man closest to being a Sword Master, the commander of the Golden Knights, Bengrass Gegen, he’s my father.”

Oh, is that so?

Why someone of such noble lineage is not at the Royal Training Academy but at Foldren’s, I do not know…

But did I ask?

Why does he mention his father’s name, which I never inquired about, when introducing himself?

It’s as if he’s saying, “My father is such a person, so kneel before me.”

“Well then, I would appreciate it if you answered my question first.”

“…Question? What question?”

“What exactly is going on right now?”

Pointing to Hansan, Maltive Gegen responded dismissively.

“Oh, the commoner brat has been disobedient lately, so I’ve been disciplining him.”

“…Disciplining?”

“Yeah. Disciplining. Is there a problem?”

Treating a person who should be treated with the same respect as a fellow peer, whether commoner or not, as something to be ‘disciplined’ like an animal or livestock.

My eyes narrowed menacingly, and Maltive’s voice grew slightly more threatening.

“I answered your question. More importantly, are you disrespecting me?”

“What?”

“Weren’t we in the middle of introductions? Yet why are you showing interest in that commoner brat? Perhaps, do you know each other?”

His gaze turned overtly hostile.

“Indeed, we do know each other. You saw us calling each other by name, right?”

“What if we are friends?”

“Friends, huh? Birds of a feather flock together; seems commoners have their own way of bonding.”

“What?”

“Besides, aren’t you, Ardell, from a no-name house, practically a commoner yourself? Disgusting that someone of no lineage like you is an academy representative.”

“…What are you trying to do?”

The atmosphere cooled significantly.

Maltive Gegen.

I didn’t need to deeply consider why this person I was meeting for the first time was so hostile towards me.

“Hey, it’s Jackil!”

“…Oh? Maltive! You’re here too? Why would a knight-in-training of your caliber be in a place like this?”

“Oh, you know, just visiting. And you, Jackil, why are you here? Didn’t you graduate a long time ago? Ah, got it! You’re here for fun too, right?”

“Yeah… something like that.”

Jackil Gerihil.

He recognized Maltive Gegen.

Like a puzzle coming together…

The Gegen of the sword.

The Gerihil of magic.

In the end, like attracts like, and they socialize with their kind.

Even if I hadn’t acknowledged Hansan, it was inevitable that our paths would cross.

“I heard Mikel lost the position of student representative… Poor academy students, having a rootless guy making friends with commoners as their representative.”

“What can we do? Now, it must have been tiring coming such a long way. Why don’t you start by removing that heavy armor? Follow me. Instead of Ruin, I, as your senior, will show you around the academy.”

“Yes. Let’s do that. Come on, everyone.”

Jackil Gerihil and Maltive Gegen.

They led their group away, and Hansan approached me tentatively, his face completely deflated.

“Ruin… It’s really good to see you… but there’s nothing good about showing that you know someone like me…”

“Why not?”

“No one likes me. So when there’s no one around later…”

“No. Didn’t we agree to be friends? So stop being so apprehensive.”

“But…”

“Those who bullied you at the training academy… Was it them?”

I looked intently at Hansan as I spoke.

“I’m considering teaching that arrogant Maltive Gegen a lesson soon… What do you think?”

Yes.

I fully intended to pay back that pompous ‘Maltive Gegen’ for his excessive insolence.

Insulted as I was, he was due for a commensurate recompense.

But I had my pride to maintain…

And for true ‘recompense,’ wouldn’t it be better if Hansan, the ‘commoner’ they scorned, dealt with the matter himself?

“Are you just going to keep taking this? Or do you have the desire to overcome it?”

“Your eyes have lost their spirit. Where’s the resolve you had when you defended your sister?”

Ashamed by my words, Hansan hung his head. However, a faint glimmer of defiant will lingered in his eyes.

He wanted to escape the situation but was afraid.

After much deliberation, Hansan’s gaze suddenly shifted.

“…Do you think I could win?”

Yes.

That’s enough.

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